Today is Hepatitis Testing Day in the United States, a valuable opportunity to talk about a disease that misunderstood and highly undiagnosed. Essentially, hepatitis is the inflammation of the liver, usually due to a viral infection. There are different types of hepatitis, which are caused by a different virus and spread in different way. The most common types of this disease are Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C. While Hepatitis A does not cause a long-term infection, both Hepatitis B and C can develop into chronic, life-long infections and result in serious health problems.
According to the CDC, Hepatitis B is 50 to 100 times more infectious than HIV.
Millions of Americans — including older adults — have chronic viral hepatitis and don’t even know it because the infection can be dormant for years, even decades. For example, baby boomers (those born between 1945 and 1965) are disproportionately affected by chronic hepatitis C and many don’t know how or when they got infected.
Chronic hepatitis is a leading cause of liver cancer.
That is why it is important for hepatitis testing to be part of a person’s routine screenings, especially among those at a higher risk for hepatitis, including people living with HIV. It is the only to know if you are infected. [Take CDC’s Hepatitis Risk Assessment to see if you should be tested for viral hepatitis.] Check out the CDC sponsored Hepatitis Testing page to get a free or low cost test for hepatitis.
Share this post and this infographic with your loved ones and protect yourself from hepatitis.